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CONNECT THE WORLD
Israelis Set To Release Palestinian Prisoners; Kenneth Bae Moved To Hospital; Anti-Gay Laws In Russia Center of Olympic Debate
Aired August 12, 2013 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Just hours away from seeing their loved ones again. The families of Palestinian prisoners expect to be released by Israel wait to be reunited. Tonight, reaction to the deal from both sides as peace talks are set to resume this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAUDI WOMAN: I love you. You're crazy. Go for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: My interview with the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest.
And, BlackBerry weighs a possible for sale sign, but will it find a buyer?
Live from Abu Dhabi, it's two minutes past midnight. This is Connect the World.
We begin this program in the Middle East where in the coming days, Israel is expected to release 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to allow U.S. brokered peace talks to resume on Wednesday.
Now this was the scene in Gaza City earlier on Monday as the family of one of the prisoners, Fawaz al-Fowa (ph), prepared for his homecoming. The news still sinking in for his father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMTAWE EL KHOR, PALESTINIAN PRISONER'S FATHER (through translator): I cannot believe no matter what anyone tells me, until I hold my son's hand, when I touch him, then I can say my son has come home. Until I touch him, I cannot believe or even hope that he will be released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Elsewhere in Gaza, families of Palestinian prisoners who are still locked up in Israeli prisons demand -- demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Red Cross to demand they be let free.
Now here is what we know, they are the first of a total of 104 that Israel has promised to release within a year as negotiations between the two sides continue. Israel is mostly releasing low profile prisoners who have already served 20 years behind bars. Eight of the detainees would have finished their sentences within the next three years, and two others within six months.
But even so, the news sparked very different reaction from the two sides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISSA QARAQE, PALESTINIAN MINISTER OF PRISONERS (through translator): There will be three additional phases. I hope that the remaining phases will, in fact, take place and all long serving Palestinian prisoners will be released. I think this is an important accomplishment, one that gives hope to the Palestinian people.
YOSSI TZUR, ISRAELI VICTIM'S FATHER: Prime minister was blackmailed into releasing those terrorists. We're releasing for nothing. There is no reason. There is -- it's the start of the negotiation, it should be without any preconditions. It should be without any release.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, in another sign that peace is, for now at least, a distant reality, Israel's housing minister announced plans for building over 1,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem in the West Bank on the same day as the prisoner swap was announced, Ariel says the move isn't to block peace efforts, but to find young people housing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URI ARIEL, ISRAELI HOUSING MINISTER (through translator): The policy is always on the table. We said at the Heyehudi Party that we will not stand against the peace talks. The Bayit Yehudi is in the government. And we're always concerned about building. And I have the responsibility as minister of housing to find our young couples houses all over Jerusalem and also in Carne Shemron (ph), Ariel, et cetera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that has raised objections from both Palestinian negotiators and Israeli peace activists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENINDA, ANTI-SETTLEMENT ACTIVIST: What I'm doing here is I'm commenting about the Israeli government's intention. There is a gun in one hand, a settlement in the other, and in the middle it says give peace a chance, because this is all the Israeli government wants to give peace a chance with weapons and settlements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Contentious issues and decisions, then, on both sides. Just the very latest moves in what has been a painful struggle for everyone for years. But are we on the road to peace, because that is what matters here, peace for everyone has to be the goal.
For more on that, and to get the view from the ground, I'm joined tonight by Yoni Millo, one who is an Israeli development worker in Tel Aviv and the political Palestinian political activist Abir Kopty from Ramallah.
Welcome you both to the show first and foremost.
Let me start with you Abir, are you hopeful for peace talks at this point?
ABIR KOPTY, PALESTINIAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well, I have to look for reasons to be hopeful. I think based on our experience as Palestinians, 20 years of negotiation has led to nothing. The (inaudible) it has been used by Israel to cover for its continuous policies of settlement expansion, expulsion of Palestinians, house demolition, land confiscation, et cetera.
So I don't think there is hope as far as the world is watching, the continuous denying of the Palestinian life (ph) and keep pressuring Palestinians into getting into process that is very clear due to be failed as the other -- as the previous process (inaudible) did.
ANDERSON: A pessimistic view, then, from our Palestinian guest tonight.
Yoni, your view.
YONI MILLO, ISRAELI DEVELOPMENT WORKER: I think there's a cautious optimism. There's also a lot of skepticism in the Israeli population. There's a feeling of we've been down this road before and it hasn't ended up giving us anything, giving us, giving the area anything at all.
However, I think after some 12 years since the last serious negotiations at the beginning of the first intifada, I think there is cautious -- like I said, cautious optimism, hopeful for a better future.
ANDERSON: This is a polarizing -- deeply, deeply polarizing issue for people on both sides of this divide. I want to get the sense of both of you as to what you and your friends talk about when you discuss this issue around your dinner tables, around a cup of tea, what -- Abir, let me start with you. What are the issues that most worry you. I want to get a sense just from you just how important this is to people on the ground.
KOPTY: Yes, well, of course there's so many things that are occupying our minds. As people living under occupation, there is daily abuses of our rights. There is daily things happening around us that we want to change. We want justice for our people who want liberation. And that's what occupies our mind.
The peace process is not something that occupies the country. We lost faith in those kind of process. And we know that we want to have our freedom, so we want to have resistance on the ground and that's what occupy our minds.
There are so many things that we want to change on the ground. And we watch how things go on and how the settlements go on and how, you know, the pressure is coming from the world instead of going against Israel, instead of placing pressure on Israel to stop settlements, to dismantle settlements, to acknowledge the Palestinian rights. The pressure goes to the Palestinians and force them into continuous, endless affair of negotiation that will continue to take our lands and deny our rights.
ANDERSON: Yoni, you've heard what Abir says. I know you will have heard this argument before. I want to get a sense of what you and your friends are talking about just how important this is to you.
And do you, for example, believe that your politicians today are representative of your views as the younger generation?
MILLO: I think the general feeling around my friends and around the dinner table would be that the sense is unhealthy of Israeli interests, for Palestinian interests. There's a feeling that something has to change in the future, because we do want to live (inaudible) Jewish homeland and as much as we want to have the Palestinians live in peace as well.
I think that that is the overall feeling around here. There's a feeling of in the next, two, three, five years are very, very important to what's going to happen. I think that our politicians, though the government is divided -- you can see the Israeli electorate, especially in the last elections, elected a parliament -- elected an overall Parliament that has overwhelming majority for peace process. Even our prime minister was against a two-state solution, today is, you know, doing a very painful sacrifice in releasing prisoners with blood on their hands who murdered in cold blood many Israelis.
It's a very painful sacrifice -- gives positive signs that hopefully wouldn't give these (inaudible) believing something is going to actually happen and you can see a change in the (inaudible) as well.
ANDERSON: All right. Abir, tell me, are these talks a waste of time so far as you are concerned?
KOPTY: Yes, they are. I just want to comment on that that most of the Israelis want peace. Recent polls show that 63 percent of Israelis do not acknowledge a Palestinian State. The government, the current Israeli government is full of representatives that are against the Palestinian rights and the indication of Palestinian State.
The minister of housing was just talking in your (inaudible) and he (inaudible) colonialist policies.
So I think this is something that cannot be ignored. The Israeli public is not willing to acknowledge and give up their privileges in order to acknowledge the Palestinians.
ANDERSON: Let me put that to Yoni. Yoni, you've got a sense of optimism tonight, but you hear what Abir says. Your response.
MILLO: It disparages me. I hope that the other side can find positivity as well.
I think that the government is no doubt divided. However, there's parties like Yeshatid (ph) different from Likud Party today. And also the parties outside of the government itself, which is very much for a negotiation, at least reaching some kind of agreement. I think there is an realization in the Israeli population. And I think if you ask most Israelis understanding that something does need to change.
I think there is the will to understand what's the general parameters for a future treaty. And just to slowly gain trust between us, because it's not good for the population (inaudible) for the Palestinians to live under this kind of disparaging relationship.
ANDERSON: All right. We're going to leave it there. But we thank you both very much indeed.
Didn't want to hear from the politicians tonight. We wanted to hear from you two. And we'll get the reflection of what your friends are saying on the ground tonight. Thank you both.
You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. It's 12 minutes past midnight here.
Tonight, why an American prisoner has been moved out of a North Korean labor camp and into a Pyongyang hospital.
And we take a closer look at how an anti-gay propaganda law is dividing Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAUDI WOMAN: Don't let the dizzy princess hair full you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And battling stereotypes as she takes on the world's biggest mountain. My interview with the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest. That is still to come this hour. Do stay with us. 90 seconds away. Taking a very short break.
ANDERSON: Well, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. Out of Abu Dhabi for you this evening.
Let's get you some other news of the day. And BlackBerry shares sweetened today after the company announced it might sell itself. Shares almost reached $11 at their peak today before settling at $10.79, up 10.5 percent. BlackBerry's board said Monday it is exploring, and I quote, strategic alternatives which could mean anything from partnering from another firm to an all-out sale.
Now the smartphone maker has struggled to find its footing against competitors like Apple and Samsung. The recent BlackBerry 10 model is not making a good impression and lagged in sales.
We've got a lot more coming up on this story in about 20 minutes from now, a big one for you.
Now, U.S. attorney General Eric Holder has announced changes to the country's criminal justice system saying the Justice Department will no longer pursue mandatory minimum prison sentences in certain drug cases. Under the proposed reforms, such terms will no longer be handed down for non-violent drug offenders with no gang or cartel ties.
Several hours ago, one of America's most notorious crime bosses was convicted of murder and racketeering charges. A Boston jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty of all but one of the 32 counts that he faced.
Now the 83-year-old Bulger was a leader in South Boston's Winter Hill gang as it was known, an Irish-American crime syndicate. In 1995, after learning he was about to be indicted, he fled Boston and later landed on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list. He spent 16 years as a fugitive before the FBI captured him in South California in 2011. He now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Deborah Feyerick is live in Boston with more details and the verdict. And what happened in court when it was read? Deborah, enlighten us.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, well, it was fascinating, because Whitey Bulger was facing crimes of extortion, racketeering, money laundering and weapons possession before the families of the people he allegedly killed, they were in court for one reason and one reason only, and that was to get justice for their loved ones -- fathers, brothers, sisters, all of these people who had been ripped from their lives some 40 to 30 years ago.
Well, it was fascinating, because as the verdict was read and these family members were waiting to find that Bulger was found guilty in connection with their death, it didn't happen. You heard Al Plumber (ph) not proven, William O'Brien not proven, James O'Toole not proven, the air from some of these people simply physically left their bodies as they simply bowed their heads and began to weep.
It wasn't until the eighth murder charge, the eighth murder act that in fact the name -- it was found that he was proven guilty of that. And that's when other family members began to cheer.
So it was really almost a mixed bag. Yes, there was extortion, yes there was racketeering, but for the families of the victims, all they wanted was for him to be guilty in connection with the deaths of their loved ones.
For 11 families, they got justice, they got resolution. For seven, they did not. And there was no finding in the death of one of the women, a girl by the name of Debbie Davis who was the girlfriend of Whitey Bulger's crime partner.
One woman who was there every day, she said it was important for me so that the jury could see that I was here for my father. She said she doesn't even know why she bothered. She said she would have stayed home, she would have continued with her life had she known that this would have been the outcome -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Deborah Feyerick on the story for you this evening. Thanks, Deb.
Zimbabwe's president had strong words for his political rival on Monday. Robert Mugabe using his first public address since winning reelection to lash out at Morgan Tsvangirai. His opponent is calling the election results a sham, but Mr. Mugabe insists the vote was fair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: We are delivering democracy on a platter -- on a platter. Do you take it? We say take it or leave it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The results show that Mr. Mugabe won 61 percent of the vote with Tsvangirai coming in second with 35 percent.
Well, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp has been moved to a hospital because of his deteriorating health.
Kenneth Bae is serving time for hostile acts against North Korea's government. CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul in South Korea for you.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, after spending three months in a North Korean labor camp, Kenneth Bae is now in a Pyongyang hospital. His family back in the United States is very concerned that his health condition could deteriorate.
(voice-over): We've seen Kenneth Bae working in a North Korean labor camp. Now we see him in a Pyongyang hospital.
KENNETH BAE, JAILED IN NORTH KOREA (through translator): I broke the DPRK law, so that's why I'm in the labor camp. I think that a high level U.S. official should come and bring me back to the U.S. I think the official should come and apologize on behalf of the U.S. government to get early release. This is my request to the U.S. government.
HANCOCKS: Kenneth Bae was sentenced in April to 15 years in a labor camp for what the regime calls hostile act to bring down the government. His family says he is a tour operator with a missionary background.
Bae was visited in hospital Friday by a Swedish diplomat. Sweden represents U.S. interests in the country as the U.S. has no diplomatic presence.
Bae's health is deteriorating. Choson Sinbo, the pro-North Korean group based in Tokyo that spoke to Bae in hospital says he has a spinal injury, lumbar and cervical pain, and gall stones. His sister tells me he has lost 50 pounds since being detained in November.
Bae says he is concerned that his health will deteriorate again once he is returned to the labor camp.
Over the weekend, Bae's family held a prayer vigil for him in their hometown of Seattle. 281 candles were lit on Saturday, one for each day Kenneth Bae has been held in North Korea.
JENNI CHUNG, KENNTH BAE'S SISTER: It's been incredibly difficult, you know, it's been -- there's absolutely nothing we can do, really. We can do everything we can to try to raise awareness, to send him letters, and write letters to people who can have the power to really advocate for him. We don't have that. So we're just trying to everything we can to spread the word and to appeal to those who do have the power to bring him home.
HANCOCKS (on camera): The U.S. government has called for Bae's release on humanitarian grounds. There have also been rumors that the former U.S. president Jimmy Carter could be heading to Pyongyang to lobby for Bae's release. The Carter Center has simply said that there are no immediate plans for the president to head to Pyongyang -- Becky.
ANDERSON: 21 minutes past midnight here in Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World from the UAE for you this evening.
Coming up, opponents call it discrimination, supporters say it protects kids. We're going to take a look at the debate over Russia's gay rights law. That, after this.
ANDERSON: Well, some say lightning doesn't strike twice, but for Usain Bolt it's a whole different story. The Jamaican reclaiming his title as the world's fastest man when he won the 100 meter sprint at this weekend's world championships in Moscow. But what's really got people talking is this photo where a bolt of lightning, see up there on the sort of top right, as it were, flashes in the sky just as Bolt crosses the finish line.
Away from the track, though, controversy still growing over Russia's recently passed anti-gay law. The law banning the discussion of gay rights and relationships with kids in -- within earshot.
CNN's Phil Black -- this all, of course, ahead of the Sochi Games -- Phil Black in Moscow with a closer look for you.
BLACK: This is Vitaly Milonov practicing his faith. He says he found Christianity while traveling in the United States. He joined the Russian orthodox church and was later elected to St. Petersburg's city council. He tells me about his politics. It's pretty standard stuff for a Christian conservative.
VITALY MILONOV, ST. PETERSBURG LAW MAKER: Russia, family, church, traditions.
BLACK: But one issue has brought Milonov national influence and international fame.
MILONOV: The sick people who are marching on the gay marches, who are trying to proclaim -- to attract people with their naked bodies...
BLACK: Milonov wasn't the first Russian politician to think up a law banning propaganda, but his efforts drove it onto the books in Russia's second city, its cultural capital, St. Petersburg. Soon after, it was adopted nationally, inspiring protests and violence that have shocked many around the world.
At the heart of the law is the belief gay and straight relationships are not equal. And it enforces big binds on anyone who suggests otherwise to children.
MILONOV: All others relations are, you know, sins. For me, they are sins. For many doctors it's a disease, you know, but it's not -- it cannot be called equal.
BLACK: This is Igor Yasin (ph) practicing what he believes in. Yasin (ph) grew up and came out in the remote Russian region of Tatarstan. He moved to Moscow and began the often dangerous job of fighting for gay rights in Russia. He's got the scars to prove it.
He tells me about his broken jaw, broken nose, the results of multiple beatings. That was before the gay propaganda law became a reality.
Yasin (ph) says his country has always had little tolerance for open homosexuality and there's even less now that the law says gay relationships are unequal.
Yasin (ph) knows he's part of a distinct minority -- socially liberal, those who want Russia to change.
Vitaly Milonov says he's a voice of the conservative Russian majority, those who believe in what they call traditional Russian values.
These two men represent a sharp social divide that is now being exposed to the world as Russia prepares to host next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Milonov says gay athletes and tourists are welcome, but he hopes they will respect Russia's traditions and laws.
Yasin (ph) hopes athletes and visitors will join him in challenging laws and ideas he believes promote intolerance and discrimination.
Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.
ANDERSON: Well, let's get more, then, on what athletes are saying about this. Let's bring in Don Riddell from CNN Center.
The Winter Olympics just months away at this point in Sochi. What's the story here?
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, certain individuals -- Stephen Fry the comedian and the actor among them have actually called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, basically saying, look, you can have these games but just host them anywhere but Russia.
Of course, the Olympians, the athletes are all being asked about this given that the games are only six months away. It's 25 years since any country, actually, boycotted the games. And I think it's very unlikely to happen again. But that doesn't mean the Olympians are completely disengaged with the conversation. This is what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAKE SKJELLERUP, SPEED SKATER, NEW ZEALAND: Fully against a boycott. The Olympics have been very important to me. And I know that a lot of people like myself have worked very, very hard for these Olympic Games. And I think it's important for the world to show up and to be united on this issue, to bring light to it and to bring about a conversation and an education about what is actually going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: Becky, political statements are actually banned by the International Olympic Committee, but of course these guys, these men and women, will all be there for a couple of weeks. And you just know this conversation will continue right throughout those games.
ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. All right.
Listen, let's move on to lighter topics, perhaps at least for English cricket fans. I'm not sure it's much lighter for Australian cricket fans. England leaving no doubt who was the better side in what is known as the Ashes Test Series.
RIDDELL: Yeah, just an incredible day's cricket on Monday at Chesterton Street in Durham. Australia began the day chasing 299 to win the match, which would have meant they'd have gone into the final match in the five game series with a chance to draw the series. But within the last couple of hours of this match, England just completely turned the tide. Stuart Broad claimed six wickets in just 45 balls as England won the game by 74 runs, meaning that they have now won the series.
They had already retained the Ashes, because in the last match it got to a point where they couldn't lose the series, but they have now won the series for the third consecutive time. Fantastic for English cricket, absolutely miserable for Australian cricket.
Let's bring you up date with a bit of tennis news as well. Rafael Nadal has played down any talk of overtaking Novak Djokovic as the men's world number one by the end of the season. The Spaniard's disappointing Wimbledon display a month-and-a-half ago looked a distant memory during the Roger's Cup final in Montreal.
He stunned Canada's Milos Raonic with a series of fierce ground strokes to race into a one set lead. And he kept up the pressure in the second set, forcing his young opponent to make errors as he stormed to a straight sets victory 6-2, 6-2.
Although Raonic has lost all four meetings with Nadal, he is now up into the world's top 10 while Nadal's eighth title of the season took him back up to third in the rankings. Don't rule him out for the U.S. Open which starts in two weeks time.
The same tournaments that women's singles was taking place in Toronto, and this final was even more one-sided. Serena Williams brushed aside Sorana Cirstea to move ahead of Monica Seles into ninth place on the list of all-time WTA title winners.
It was all over in just 65 minutes. And Serena's Romanian opponent barely got a look in. Williams rattled off the last nine games for a 6-2, 6-0 victory. It's her eighth title of the year. And with the exception of her early exit at Wimbledon, she looks as unstoppable as ever ahead of the final grand slam tournament of the season.
That's all the sport for you, Becky. Back to you.
ANDERSON: Unbelievable performance.
All right, thank you for that. The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, star gazers got a real treat in the past 24 hours. We're going to have some stunning video to show you later in the show. We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour at just past half past midnight in Abu Dhabi.
Israel expected to release 26 Palestinian prisoners from prison in the coming days. They are the first group of 104 to be freed as a condition for resuming Middle East peace talks Wednesday. Ahead of that, Israel approved new settlement construction in East Jerusalem in the West Bank, angering many Palestinians.
A former US crime boss has been found guilty of racketeering and involvement in 11 murders. James "Whitey" Bulger showed no emotion when the verdicts were read. He was captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run. He'll be sentenced in November.
In the Netherlands, the royal family says Prince Johan Friso has died. The prince suffered severe brain damage after he was buried by an avalanche while skiing in Austria last year. Excuse me. Prince Friso was 44 years old.
Egypt's deposed president will remain in custody for at least 15 more days. That is according to the interim government there. It's another setback for supporters of Mohamed Morsy, who are still camped out in two spots in Cairo, vowing to stay put despite warnings that they must leave. CNN's Reza Sayah spent time today at one of those sit-ins in East Cairo and filed this report.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There were a lot of rumors swirling that on Monday morning at dawn, security forces here in Egypt would launch a crackdown against pro-Morsy sit-in demonstrations that have been taking place for close to six weeks now.
Monday morning came, the crackdowns did not. We're at one of the main entrances at the sit-in here in East Cairo, no sign of police, no sign of security forces, protesters continuing to stream in, and this lengthy barrier that has been up for more than five weeks, it's still upright, made up of these very large and heavy bricks that have been pried from sidewalks.
Throughout the day, we've seen artists paint murals on this wall. These are pictures of some of the alleged victims who died in some of the clashes here. This is the first line of defense at this entrance. If you look beyond this barrier, you're going to see a second, a third, and a fourth barrier. If security forces are going to launch a crackdown against this place, this his what they're going to have to get through.
What's remarkable is when rumors started that perhaps a crackdown would take place today, it actually inspired some supporters of the ousted president to get on buses and vehicles to come here. This is what one of the demonstrators had to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I heard of news reports that a security source said the sit-in of Rabaa al-Adawiya would be broken up on Monday. As soon as I heard this, we gathered on a bus and drove her from Minya. And two more buses are coming from Minya today.
We're not afraid of their threats and the psychological war on us. We are prepared to die for legitimacy and for our constitution and our freedom.
SAYAH: Throughout the day, thousands of additional supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy, continue to stream into this demonstration, and with no crackdown taking place on Monday, the question: is it going to happen tomorrow or the day after?
Or was this a bluff? A fear tactic used by the interim government designed to apply pressure to the demonstrators? Another unanswered question in this conflict that has the military-backed interim government taking on supporters of the ousted president, a conflict with no end in sight.
Reza Sayah, CNN, Cairo.
ANDERSON: Also in your headlines today, BlackBerry shares shot up Monday after its board said they might sell the company. Now, the stock almost touched $11 a share before settling at $10.78. That is up about 10.5 percent, investors clearly pleased that the ailing handset maker's serious now about making changes.
In what was a fairly cryptic announcement, the company said it will look into, and I quote, "strategic alternatives." Now, that could mean joint ventures with other companies, forging strategic partnerships, or walking away and selling outright.
Now, mobile, e-mail, an messaging, of course, put it on top of the SmartPhone world a decade ago, but the company has failed to keep up with the likes of Apple and others. Just take a look at this, for example. This is the share price. Against what has been a healthy market, shares this year making around 18 to 23 percent today.
Look at this. This what happened in June. This is pretty ugly in anyone's books, given that the markets have been really strong. But this was a profit warning, June, and a 28 percent wiped off the share price on the 29th of that month in what was the biggest one-day drop since the dot- com crash in 2000.
So, what is the future for the once mighty BlackBerry. Well, my guest tonight says one thing is clear: the company is looking desperate. Maggie Reardon is a senior writer for technology site CNET out of New York for you this evening.
Maggie, at tonight's close, the company valued at just over $5 billion, not a bad day on the market, its shares up some 10 percent. But its market cap was at $41 billion just three years ago. What has gone so wrong?
MAGGIE REARDON, SENIOR WRITER, CNET: Well, I think that the thing here is that they just haven't been able to keep up with their competitors. They're in a very competitive market. You've got a whole slew of Android competitors, the Google OS.
And then you've got Apple as well. And now, even Microsoft with its Windows Phone 8 that's just emerged in the last, really, year and a half is taking on BlackBerry, too.
So, competition has increased, and they just really have taken too long to come back with something competitive. They just released their BlackBerry 10 devices --
REARDON: -- which is a new operating system. But it's not taking hold.
ANDERSON: Well, the Canadian SmartPhone maker has been sidelined, as you rightly point out, in the market. Let me just give our viewers some facts. In 2009, BlackBerry commanded about 50 percent -- this is 2009 -- 50 percent of the SmartPhone market at its peak. Today, it is around 3 percent.
Well, earlier, our business advisor Shelly Palmer told -- not ours, but a business advisor and a man who's huge across tech and social media -- told Richard Quest, my colleague, that BlackBerry is simply over. Have a listen to this, and see what you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLY PALMER, AUTHOR, "DIGITAL WISDOM": This is like so over, stick a fork in it, it's done over. There's nothing they have that anybody wants, not the IP. The IP will have a value, but I -- like I'll say it one more time, I'm going to buy the IP out of the scrap heap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: He's alluding there to the company having some assets, at least, that somebody would want to buy. Do they? Is it enough? And if so, if this company were stripped out or sold, to whom, at this point?
REARDON: Well, I think there are some assets that are valuable. They own quite a few patents, and that's going to be valuable to somebody in this market. They've also got pretty good services, a business that someone could use.
But on the whole, I don't see anybody buying BlackBerry outright for all of the assets together. I see this -- probably what's going to happen is some patents are going to be sold, the services business will be sold, and we'll probably just see the hardware business just die out.
There are just too many competitors, and I don't think anybody really needs it. And to be honest with you, the software, I don't think there are that many competitors out there who need that, either.
ANDERSON: Earlier, we, Maggie, took to the streets of London to see what people in the city, in the financial area, where we assumed there'd be BlackBerry supporters still, see what they thought. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: BlackBerry was good, nothing particularly, but then iPhone seems more useful now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish I didn't have one, because it keeps me in contact too much. It's nice to have a relaxed attitude to life, and sometimes with BlackBerry, you don't get it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The BlackBerry I used, it's more of a business phone. So, I've never been one to have a business phone, now, so I switched to something more cooler.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can access everything? I just touch it. But with BlackBerry, I have to always keep scrolling around and things like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't use it for business, so that must be why, but my friends do, and they're better for business. Yes, right. Yes, they swear by them. You see people them tapping them on the train and stuff. But not me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Apple brand is stronger than the BlackBerry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Maggie, that was a serious cross-section of an awful lot of people that we talked to in London today. This used to be the business device of choice, or the device for businessmen and women of choice. What happens to those of us who still have a BlackBerry at this point if, indeed, as you point out, this company may or may not be split up or may just go to the wall at this point.
REARDON: I think what -- it's already happening, and we're seeing it happening, and you've seen some of those people on the street tell you, people are migrating to other platforms. Businesses are migrating to other platforms.
Apple is doing good business within big companies, and so is Google Android. In fact, here in the US, the Department of Defense, which used to standardize on BlackBerry, is no longer doing that. They are considering some Apple and some Android phones.
So, I think we're going to sort of see the trend continue with or without a buyer here for BlackBerry, which is -- I think that companies, especially, are going to stop dropping -- are going to start dropping BlackBerry, especially as more of their workers get to choose their own phones. Because people don't think BlackBerry's cool anymore, and --
REARDON: -- that's not what they want. It doesn't fit into their lifestyle.
ANDERSON: Interestingly, their shares up today, there are at least investors out here who are looking for some sort of deal and some sort of money to be made out of its stock, which is, as we pointed out tonight, very low at this point. So, there's an argument both sides, here, but we thank you for your expert advice this evening.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Scaling new heights for women in Saudi Arabia, my interview with what is a remarkable young lady just ahead.
ANDERSON: Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. We're in the UAE for you, a quarter to 1:00 in the morning here.
A couple of months ago, we introduced regular viewers of this show to a Girl's World, a special CNN series following three teenage girls on different sides of the globe.
Now, each week, they discuss the issues that are most important to them and take us through a aspect of their daily lives. Our commitment to getting a better deal for youngsters around the world. From South Africa, Argentina, and England this week, the girls share what they like to do for fun.
NQOBILE, 15, SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA: Me and my friends are going out. We like eating, we like sleeping.
(singing) I need to know that she's a dream.
I really love singing, but my sister says I can't sing. But I'm still going to sing anyway.
EUGENIA, 15, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (through translator): Ever since I was a kid, it was interesting to me because my grandmother teaches me to cook and my mom, too. I like doing that, and food is delicious.
LILY, 14, SURREY, ENGLAND: I love music, I love art, I love watching movie, playing instruments, being with friends. I think it's important for teenage girls to have friends outside of school. You are friends with them, but the only reason you're in the class with those people is because they're the same age. You didn't come together because you had anything in common.
NQOBILE: So, we are going to a mall. And go to the arcade, because I love the arcade. Makes me forget about everything that's been happening at school, at home. It's relieving -- it's kind of like a stress reliever, and it makes me happy.
EUGENIA (through translator): I am social. In some things, I close up. I don't share everything with everyone. I only share things that are not too personal, like general things.
NQOBILE: Honestly, I feel like when you're around people, feel good about yourself, then you get compliments. They just pick up things that they like about you.
LILY: I don't think there's anything that I can't do because I'm a girl. I think technically there is still kind of accidental discrimination against women, like even what places in Britain like we think that we're really, really equal, and then actually, you realize that a lot of men get paid more, sort of old men, higher jobs than women are.
NQOBILE: I do not feel like I'm limited or -- yes -- from doing certain things because I'm a girl or because I'm not limited to doing anything. I can do anything I want to do no matter what gender I am or where I live.
ANDERSON: A Girl's World here on CNN. I wanted to introduce you now to one young woman whose idea of fun is putting herself in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world.
Raha Moharrak is her name, and she made history this year with her summit of Mount Everest. In doing so, the young Saudi mountaineer showed that Arab women can reach heights once considered unattainable. Look at this.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Going where no other Saudi woman has ever gone. On May the 18th, Raha Moharrak climbed into the history books, becoming the first woman from Saudi Arabia to stand at the top of the world.
RAHA MOHARRAK, SAUDI MOUNTAINEER: When I really got there, in my mind I kept thinking, 75, 80 percent of people die on the way down. So, I was thinking, OK, celebrate, but not too much, because you still need to get down.
So, I got there, and when you realize that you can see the curvature of the Earth, it just -- it hits you even more. Like, oh, my God, let's get down.
ANDERSON (on camera): How cold was it?
MOHARRAK: It was very cold. It was minus 45, 50 windchill that day.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The triumph was part of Arabs with Altitude, a history-making expedition documented for a series airing on Qatar television on September the 10th. It traces the team's path, from training in the Arabian Desert to scaling ice cliffs and crossing crevices on their journey to Everest.
Challenge enough, but for 27-year-old Raha, to even pursue mountaineering meant breaking a taboo in her ultra-Orthodox country, where sport was only officially permitted in private girls' schools this year. Her first step: convincing her father to let her climb Kilimanjaro.
MOHARRAK: I told him the idea, and he was like, "You want to do what? Ah, very interesting, habibti. Why don't you leave it until you get married?" And I have the highest respect for my dad, so I was fuming.
So, I went back home. Being severely dyslexic, you can imagine how long it took me to write this long, rambling e-mail why you should let me climb Kilimanjaro. And I was so scared of his reaction, because it had lines like, "You raised me and taught me to aim for greatness. Why are you telling me I have to wait for a ring?"
And he did not call or reply for three days, and I thought, oh, my God, what did I do?
ANDERSON (on camera): And they've been incredibly supportive, your parents.
MOHARRAK: Amazing. Amazing. Right after the three days of hell silence to me, he sends me one line: "I love you, you're crazy, go for it."
ANDERSON (voice-over): Everest has been just one of several expeditions Raha has undertaken in the past two years, but it's been the toughest.
MOHARRAK: People underestimate that mountain greatly. In my case, people were like, oh, you shouldn't be on the mountain. I didn't take offense, because I just started climbing in 2000, in November 2011. They don't know I did eight mountains in a year. They don't know that. They don't know I did an intense training in Seattle to do that.
And I understand why they'd look at me and be like -- and actually, someone actually said that. "What's Barbie doing on the mountain?" And then I said, "Don't let the Disney princess hair fool you."
MOHARRAK: And they just walked away, and I saw them on the way down when I summitted. "Hi. You see my rock?"
MOHARRAK: My way of telling them don't stereotype.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Raha! Yes! All right! Nice job!
ANDERSON: Was there any time that you ever thought, I can't do this, I'm going to give up?
MOHARRAK: No. I never throughout Everest felt like I was going to give up, but I did feel worried that I was going to freeze up there. I was worried that -- and I promised my dad, because he -- after he accepted me going to Everest, he said, "Can you promise you can come back to me?" But it's really hard to try to keep yourself focused and block out all of the agonizingly cold.
ANDERSON: How did you keep yourself focused?
MOHARRAK: Honestly? The fact that my parents chose to live in absolute horror for two months and my dad fighting for me, for what I want, my dream, was a hell of an incentive, to be honest.
HASSAN MOHARRAK, RAHA'S FATHER (through translator): I am proud of what she's doing, for her, for her gender, for her country. And what remains for me is my encouragement. God is One.
ANDERSON: I know in the past you've talked about not wanting the responsibility on your shoulders for the future of all Saudi women, but quite frankly, you've go it.
MOHARRAK: I did not set out to do this, this movement, I didn't set out to be a poster child to anything. I just -- I saw a mountain and I wanted to climb it. I'm honored that I'm in history, but I don't think it would mean anything if it doesn't change anything.
Yes, so I was the first Saudi woman, but if I'm the last, then would that really -- would I care if I'm in history? No.
ANDERSON: What happens next?
MOHARRAK: I think --
ANDERSON: What are you going to put your dad through next?
MOHARRAK: Oh, my God! Poor man!
MOHARRAK: And my mom as well. She -- no, she's being very understanding. She tries to hide it, but sometimes she loses her cool, like when I called to tell her I summitted, first of all I lost contact. They knew I summitted from the media, and it was just all over the place.
And then finally, I called me dad. I'm like, "Daddy, I did it! Oh, my God!" He's like, "I'm so proud of you!"
Mom, it was amazing!
(MOHARRAK SPEAKING ARABIC)
MOHARRAK: I can't wait to tell you about it!
And you hear my mom in the background, "All ten fingers?"
MOHARRAK: In the background yelling, "Does she have all ten?" She's so excited. "Congratulations!" She never let the culture strains change her acceptance of me.
ANDERSON: Amazing story. Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a few taxi passengers in Norway got a shock when they realized who was at the wheel. More on that after this.
ANDERSON: Right. Behind in the polls and facing the prospect of losing September's general election, Norway's prime minister has embarked on what is an unusual PR stunt to win over voters. CNN's Dan Rivers has the story of a prime minister going incognito.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Explaining that "Today will be quite different to most Fridays," Norway's prime minister was the master of understatement as he donned a driver's uniform and headed for his taxi, a political stunt to enable to him to get closer to the voters.
He waited on a taxi rank, like any other cab, and this is what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): to Spektun Road at Teisen, please.
RIVERS: Some passengers seemed totally oblivious that the man running them around should have been running the country. But plenty clocked him immediately, and then tried to figure out how to bring up the awkward fact that he was, well, the prime minister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are you Stoltenberg?
RIVERS: Some were delighted.
RIVERS: But Jens Stoltenberg is trailing in the polls ahead of an upcoming election, and some wanted to take him to task.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I was lucky now, because I wanted to send you a letter. All those corporate leaders, they shouldn't have so high salaries.
RIVERS (on camera): It's difficult to imagine David Cameron doing a similar political stunt here in London, but that's because to get the license to drive one of these famous cabs, the so-called knowledge test, can take two or three years.
RIVERS (voice-over): But for Norway's leader, the only qualification needed was a driving license, a pair of sunglasses, and a sense of humor. A premier taxi none of these passengers will ever forget.
Dan Rivers, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: And I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. We leave you with what is a spectacular video of the Perseid meteor shower from one of our iReporters in Hawaii. It was at its brightest Sunday, but if you've missed it, you've still got a good chance of spotting it in the coming hours.
Happy stargazing from the team here in Abu Dhabi, in London, and in Atlanta, Georgia this evening. Good evening.